The death toll from a coal mine fire in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province has risen to 26 after rescuers retrieved another seven bodies, the national work safety watchdog announced Wednesday.
A fire broke out in the Fuhua Coal Mine in Hegang City of Heilongjiang Province, September 20, 2008.
Five miners remain missing after a fire Sept. 20 at the Fuhua Coal Mine in Hegang City.
Forty-three miners were working underground at the time, 12 managed to escape.
Rescuers found 19 bodies Sept. 23. The national work safety watchdog did not specify when the other seven bodies were retrieved.
Rescue efforts to find the remaining five miners continue.
After a preliminary investigation, experts blame the coal mine fire on spontaneous combustion.
Five people in connection with the accident, including the mine's owner and manager, were in police custody. Police also froze the mine's bank accounts.
The licensed mine has an annual production capacity of 60,000 tons.
(Xinhua News Agency October 15, 2008)